This is the second evening in a row I’m spending with Elv in the woods. He’s working late tonight to beat the rain because then it will be too muddy. A lot of too muddy already in our year.
Last night I brought the Jeep and canoe and supper out so that we could fish the little lake here in this woods. It is a deep, dark pool of water with no grasses or lily pads in it. At dusk the quiet surface is broken again and again all around our silent canoe by fish. We see the silvery flash of their tails many times. They’re feeding but not on worms on a hook.
We were entranced by the lovely quiet, the two of us in our canoe suspended in the middle, hung in glass between two worlds: the sky and trees mirrored perfectly all around, the tangible up, the reflection down. I always think I should be able to describe this place in words. Stepping into a mirror sort of says it. But this is real.
We heard a deer coming down to the water toward us. It must have sensed us last minute. We didn’t get to see it, but it snorted noisily and left silently.
After we proved that the fish in our lake were of a species impervious to worm and hook we spent a couple of hours logging and then smoothing the muddy logging road. Home by eleven.
Tonight we are just logging. I’m sitting on the dash watching him load logs. Its “blow-down” stumpage, the logs huge, both eight footers and “randoms” red pine and white pine, their sap bleeding from the raw cut ends of them.
He has a computerized machine. AC and glass all around keeps my logger comfortable and safe.
On this job he has seventeen sorts: bass wood pulp, bass wood logs, maple pulp, maple logs, white birch pulp, white birch logs, ash pulp, ash logs, oak pulp, bolts, and logs, red pine random logs, bolts, and pulp, white pine logs, bolts, and pulp. He knows them all by their bark, woodcolor, saw dust color, how the shredded bark acts and looks, every species distinctive to his experienced eye.
Its dark now with the late hour and the heavily overcast sky, the storm moving in. The bright lights of the machine create a big golden pool of light around us. We are safe and big and invincible here in our ponderous tracking over stumps and knolls and brush, the golden pool ever over us showing the way. Dust and bugs roil just on the other side of the glass, but the air we breathe here is clean and cool.
At the edges of our light the trees stand tall, inky darkness just behind them. We’ll go home as soon as the rain starts.